Wednesday, 19 February, 2020

Suspected Iranian weapons seized at sea

US Marines observe an Iranian fast attack craft from USS John P Murtha during a Strait of Hormuz transit Arabian Sea off Oman Video: US Navy Seizes Iranian Weapons, Missiles in Arabian Sea - US Central Command
Deanna Wagner | 15 February, 2020, 10:40

It did not say what kind of surface-to-air missiles were seized.

Hundreds of missiles, weapons and munitions likely headed from Iran to Houthi militants in Yemen are in USA hands, intercepted during an operation earlier this week in the Arabian Sea.

The USS Normandy, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, intercepted a small sailing vessel in the Arabian Sea over the weekend and found it loaded with Iranian weapons bound for the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Video footage released by CENTCOM Public Affairs shows US Navy personnel boarding the vessel during the February 9 operation in the Arabian Sea.

"The crew of the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), in accordance with global law, seized an illicit shipment of advanced weapons and weapon components, which held 358 surface-to-air missile components and "Dehlavieh" anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), intended for the Houthis in Yemen", the statement said.

Numerous weapons were identical to those seized by the USS Forest Sherman in the Arabian Sea in November.

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"USS Normandy, while conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, boarded a dhow in accordance with global law and discovered a large cache of weapons", read the statement.

It added that the weapons seized were components of Iranian design and manufacture, including three Iranian surface-to-air missiles.

Under a United Nations resolution, Iran is prohibited from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside the country unless approved by the Security Council. The conflict in Yemen is seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Officials said the weapons were being shipped to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen as part of the ayatollah regime's attempts to increase its influence across the Middle East.

Global efforts at brokering a ceasefire and peace deal have been unsuccessful.